VC /Accelerator will emigrate over 30 startup teams and their families to the Canadian city of their choice
"We will give you mentors, cash, connections, and the guidance to help you scale."
TORONTO, June 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- In the context of uncertainty in the US and Silicon Valley on travel and immigration policy, Toronto-based Extreme Venture Partners (EVP), a VC fund and accelerator that believes great talent can come from anywhere, today announced its third fund with a special focus on immigrating international startups -- including the U.S. Startups can apply to EVP's accelerator and if accepted, up to five members of the startup team and their families will be immigrated to the Canadian city of their choice and started on the path to Canadian citizenship.
It's important to note that EVP's initiative differs from the recently announced Fast-Track Visa Program, which is essentially fast-tracked temporary work permits for qualifying foreign tech workers, akin to the US H1-B Visa. In contrast, EVP's initiative offers the chance for founders and their teams to incorporate their startups in Canada with an immediate path to Canadian citizenship -- similar to the US' Green Card, but without the impediments proposed by that country's immigration policies.
EVP is relatively small by Silicon Valley standards, but the company's eye for talent and embrace of diversity has allowed it to punch above its weight: EVP's portfolio companies have created over 3,000 jobs and several hundred million dollars in shareholder value since 2007.
EVP and its accelerator, Extreme Accelerator, will work in conjunction with Canada's progressive Startup Visa Program to vet the companies. EVP expects to fund over 30 international startups (two cohorts per year of five startups each or 10 total per year) with an initial $50K to $100K, along with mentorship and access to resources and connections for follow-on funding -- and EVP may invest supplementary funds if a startup shows exceptional promise.
EVP will continue to finance promising local startups and is expected to back a further 20-plus startups within fund III as well. "Once we fully deploy and mature this third fund we expect to show that $25 million invested privately will result in over $1 billion in annual salary contribution to the Canadian economy," said Ray Sharma, CEO of EVP.
In total, EVP expects its newest fund to invest in up to 50 startups with between $100,000 and $500,000 in capital per investment.
EVP and its Extreme Accelerator program have already begun to invest in international companies, including one from the six nations impacted by the Trump Administration's proposed travel ban and immigration limits, and sees those companies as "a tremendous source of talent that we should be welcoming," added Sharma.
"We believe that diversity is more than just ethnicity or country of origin -- it also brings cognitive diversity, with new perspectives on how to solve problems -- and that leads to the kind of serendipity that drives startup innovation. Our startups have gone on to be acquired by the biggest names in tech -- including Google and Apple, which underscores that you don't have to be in Silicon Valley to grow an incredible company," Sharma explained.
"With so much instability in the world at the moment, we want to send a message to founders in the U.S. or anywhere: We will welcome your team and your families into one of the most fantastic countries in the world. We have a flourishing startup ecosystem. We will give you mentors, cash, connections, and the guidance to help you scale. Join us."
Canada's Start-up Visa Program, which oversees the immigration process, was created in 2015 to help companies incorporate in Canada and stoke that country's economic engine. The opportunity is not limited to startups, however; and the "Visa" referenced in the name is actually the opportunity for permanent residency -- what the United States would call a Green Card.
Sunil Sharma (no relation), who heads up Extreme Accelerator, said "The companies entering Canadian accelerators like ours will be incorporating in Canada and extended Canadian citizenship. We work with the Canadian government to ensure that any startups we bring here are real companies, and not trying to use the Start-Up Visa program as an immigration workaround."
"But the point is not what country you come from or any other demographic criteria: it's, 'Do you have a viable tech startup that can grow and scale? Will you contribute to the Canadian economy?' That's the high bar we are placing in conjunction with the Canadian government, because we have seen that amazing talent can look like anyone, can come from anywhere, and contribute to the Canadian startup ecosystem."
Think you could be a fit? To apply to the Extreme Accelerator, visit this link.
About Extreme Venture Partners EVP is an early stage investment fund, startup development lab (Extreme Innovation) and global-to-Canada accelerator (Extreme Accelerator) that invites diversity as the spark of brilliance and innovation, quietly launching some of the Canada's most interesting startups. EVP has developed a comprehensive startup ecosystem, as well as a not-for-profit organization (Hackergals) dedicated to addressing the gender imbalance in coding.